The arrival of the Martha Graham Dance Company this weekend—Feb. 25-26 at South Coast Rep—is cause for celebration. Not only because it’s the oldest and most acclaimed contemporary dance troupe in the US, but because this show (presented by the Philharmonic Society as part of the JapanOC festival) salutes Graham’s long and fruitful collaboration with artist Isamu Noguchi.
While we’re waiting for Laguna Art Museum’s expansive “Noguchi: East Meets West” exhibition, which opens June 12, we’ll be treated to two ballet performances choreographed by Graham with sets designed by Noguchi. The SCR program will include “Embattled Garden” (music by Carlos Surinach), “Cave of the Heart”(music by Samuel Barber), and “Appalachian Spring” (music by Aaron Copland). Call 714-708-5555.
Sometimes the New York theatre world is so anxious to discover a hot young talent, a play gets produced before it’s quite ready. Such is the case with Stephen Karam’s “Speech & Debate,” now on view at Theatre Out in Santa Ana. This seriocomedy about teen angst in the digital age starts off promisingly, with an apparent sex scandal involving the town mayor that a student journalist tries to expose, leading to his unlikely alliance with a drama student-podcaster and an openly gay senior.
The pungent wit and comic energy of the early scenes gradually dissipates into the silly and sophomoric. Still, what Karam has to say about today’s youth and the pressures they face in a society rampant with secrets and lies has much substance; his potshots at the media are dead-on. Cassi Jerkins’ wacky teen drama queen stands out amid a strong ensemble; Paul Anderson is highly credible as the wannabe journalist. Anthony Galleran directs with style and verve. Through Mar. 12; call 714-826-8700.
Hot tip: OC Playwrights Alliance offers staged readings of five new one-acts in their Discoveries series, at Santa Ana’s Empire Theatre (home of Theatre Out); Feb. 26, 3:30 p.m.
More from Jordan:
‘Weismans’ at Anaheim’s Gallery Theatre; ‘single-handed’ on DVD
3D’s ‘Drowsy Chaperone’ sparkles in Fullerton
‘Nerve’ at The Chance, Ayckbourn on DVD
Kazan’s sexy ‘Mlle. God’ at Ensemble Studio
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